6 Activities to Help You Bond With Your Dog

Flyball. This relay race involves four hurdles and a tennis ball. The twist? The dogs operate the equipment that delivers the tennis ball. A flyball team has a minimum of four dogs and five people per team. Two teams race each other over a 51-foot course lined with four jumps. At the end of the course is a spring-loaded box that ejects a tennis ball when the dog steps on it. The dog must catch the tennis ball and race back over the hurdles, crossing the starting line before the next dog goes. The first team to run without errors wins. Dogs earn points toward flyball titles based on a team’s time.

Nose work. The object of this game is for the dog to find a particular odor — such as birch, anise or clove — and alert his handler to the find by sitting, looking at the person or giving some other indication. It can be played indoors or outdoors on all types of surfaces and in all conditions, including rain and snow. Like agility, you can play it for fun or compete for titles.

Trick training. Who doesn’t love a dog who can jump through a hoop, shake hands or twirl on his hind legs? Teaching tricks is a wonderful way to engage your dog’s mind, exercise his body and give him an entertaining outlet for interacting with people. All you need to get started is a clicker and some treats. You can find lots of books on teaching tricks, and some trainers offer trick-training classes.

Whatever you choose as your activity, you'll be building a bond with your beloved pet. So let’s have some fun out there!

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